After a wet ‘n’ wild weekend in Tasmania, the team are hoping for a little more sunshine this weekend as they head South to Phillip Island.
Fingers are crossed for no red flags either – there have been six red-flagged races in the history of the Championship at Phillip Island, although the last was back in 2003.
The 4.45-kilometre circuit requires engineers to rethink set-up – demanding a stable car under brakes and a good amount of front grip to be able to wash away as little speed as possible through each corner.
History lesson: Between 2008 and 2011 the circuit hosted the pre-Bathurst, 500-kilometre endurance race, before it moved to Sandown.
What makes this track unique: The high average speed – at 174km/h it is the second highest out of any circuit we visit.
Grip levels: Medium to high. The circuit was resurfaced three years ago taking it from a low to high grip track, although it’s gradually declining back to its old state.
Tyre degradation: High. Although much better since the resurfacing, Phillip Island is historically hard on tyres due to very high lateral load percentage.
Run-off: Plenty, but given the high speeds there is still the ability to find the tyre walls, particularly at the Hayshed (T8).
Safety cars: The Safety Car has appeared in 12 of the last 19 races held at Phillip Island.
Watch out for: Honda, Lukey Heights and MG (T4, 10 and 11) – this is where majority of the passing will happen.
Did you know: This year’s 250-kilometre races are the longest single driver Supercars races held at the circuit since 2003.
Don’t forget: The seaside circuit shifts to run two 250-kilometre races this year, which means a 140-litre fuel drop will be compulsory in each race.
FROM THE DRIVERS
David Reynolds – #9 Erebus Penrite Racing
“Phillip Island is a track I love driving, it’s a cool place to do a lap around. It’s also a challenging place because of the nature of the track and it’s difficult to get the car set-up perfectly.
“You spend a lot of time in each corner and probably only spend about 20% of an entire lap going straight, so the other 80% is spent turning, which means you need a good car. It’s a high-speed track so a good car needs really good aero and aero-stability as well.
“Wind direction is also a big factor; if the wind is blowing down the straight the car will handle differently to how it would if it was blowing down the straight and vice versa, so that’s something that needs to be taken into consideration.”
Dale Wood – #99 Erebus GB Galvanizing Racing
“I would rate Phillip Island as one of the top three race tracks in Australia, although it’s a really hard one to get right and it’s going to throw up all the usual challenges.
“500-kilometres is going to make it even more interesting; it’s a good chance to either get strategy right and be rewarded, or get strategy wrong, so there will be plenty going on.
“Tyre life will be a factor and it can be bad around this circuit as you spend so much time in each corner. The new soft tyre does seem to hold up a little better so that will be interesting to see how they go after Saturday’s race.”